Ten Common Low Thyroid Symptoms Many Suffer With

By Corri Peterson

Many symptoms are linked to poor thyroid function; however, there are ten common low thyroid symptoms that are the most bothersome.

To help you understand the symptoms you are experiencing, let’s start with some background information. There are eleven major regulatory systems in the body, one of which is the Endocrine System.

This system consists of glands that produce and secrete hormones. Metabolism, sexual function, and bodily growth are established and regulated through the hormones secreted by the endocrine system. These hormones are chemical messengers that transfer information from one group of cells to another to coordinate and control multiple bodily functions.

One of the vital glands of the endocrine system is the thyroid. With low thyroid hormone, your body doesn’t interact correctly, creating various uncomfortable symptoms. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.) Unfortunately, many low thyroid symptoms (also known as an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism) mimic other medical conditions, so getting the correct diagnosis is sometimes challenging.

Women experience most of the symptoms listed; however, more men are developing thyroid problems. The elderly with low thyroid function may develop memory issues and depression, and children may have slowed growth and mental development. Teenagers may start puberty earlier than normally expected.

As you can see, thyroid issues can affect a wide variety of people.

Ten Common Low Thyroid Symptoms:

#1 Tiredness

Low Thyroid Symptoms

The number one complaint from those with low thyroid symptoms is tiredness. It’s a persistent feeling of exhaustion that never seems to go away regardless of how much sleep or rest you get. For many, the fatigue becomes debilitating, causing sufferers to limit daily activities and skip social gatherings. Some can’t make it through the day without a nap.

If you are suffering from bone-numbing fatigue, schedule a check-up with your doctor. For those already taking medication, it could be that your thyroid medication needs to be tweaked. Or maybe you need a complete thyroid panel to determine if a course of action is necessary to improve your energy levels. A low functioning thyroid is a cause of tiredness; additional culprits include depression, sleep apnea, iron deficiency, and stress.

You can ease your tiredness with simple small changes that nourish and support your thyroid.

#2 Unexplained Progressive Weight Gain

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Weight gain is another common symptom of those with a sluggish thyroid. Since your thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism and energy levels, it makes sense that you will gain weight if your metabolism is slow. Unfortunately, those struggling with low thyroid function often find it impossible to lose weight even when eating very little.

However, many doctors will tell you that no more than 5 to 10% of that excess weight is due to a slow thyroid. They will recommend you to eat less, exercise more (for those so exhausted they can’t get off the couch, this poses a problem), and drink more water.

While drinking more water is usually a part of the weight loss plan, your metabolism is slower when your thyroid is not producing enough hormones. So your body retains fluids, leaving it bloated, constipated, and unable to clear out toxins as it should.

Also, keep in mind that low thyroid hormone can cause joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation, making physical exercise very uncomfortable, if not impossible.

If you are struggling with low thyroid hormone levels, look at reducing toxins in your diet and environment so your thyroid can start to heal, and then modify your exercise plan to match your fitness levels and energy levels.

#3 Constipation

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Constipation is a miserable, annoying symptom of low thyroid hormones. Since these hormones play a role in managing your bodily functions’ speed, every system throughout your body slows down when these levels are low. For many, treating low thyroid hormone levels solves most issues, but certain medications and supplements can cause constipation.

Some supplements can ease constipation, such as magnesium. Magnesium relaxes the muscles that line the digestive tract and helps the stool move more quickly. Unfortunately, many don’t consume enough fiber-rich foods, while others find relief by eliminating gluten and dairy.

#4 Hypersensitive to Cold

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Are you always cold? Being cold is a common complaint of those with low thyroid function. A slowed-down metabolism can lead to a drop in your core body temperature. Some people with low thyroid hormone levels feel cold all the time or have a low tolerance to the cold.

For many, this cold feeling persists, even in a warm home or during the summer months. Optimizing your thyroid levels eases this bone-chilling cold, as does an increase in your consumption of thyroid-boosting foods and improving your B-12 levels.

#5 Dry and Scaly Skin

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Low thyroid hormone levels can cause cool, dry, pale skin. In addition, many suffer from additional problems that include itchy, cracked, and scaly skin. A recent study found that dry, coarse skin was the number one skin symptom reported by participants with low thyroid symptoms—it affected 100 percent of them.

Many dermatologists recommend using moisturizers that come in a jar or tub because these tend to be more moisturizing than those with a pump. Holistic practitioners recommend using natural oils like coconut oil or shea butter to avoid skin irritations from chemicals found in many moisturizers. I also like to use baby lotions for my body; they are very gentle, moisturizing, and have no harmful ingredients.

#6 Brittle Hair and Nails

Low thyroid symptoms

Brittle, dry hair and nails are frequent low thyroid symptoms and one of the most commonly complained about. Unfortunately, many who have problems with their hair and nails aren’t aware that it’s linked to a thyroid issue. I have heard from many who suffer from low thyroid hormone levels about how bad their hair and nails are, but they often have no clue why.

As with all the other functions in your body, when hormone production is interrupted, it disrupts cells’ growth and reproduction; this is also true with your hair and nails.

Many women complain about losing the outer third of their eyebrows, another common low thyroid symptom. Many who have weak nails and dry hair will use biotin supplements to improve them, but be aware you should avoid taking those supplements a few days before having any thyroid testing done. Biotin is known to skew test results to show falsely lower TSH levels leading to an incorrect diagnosis or improper dosing.

#7 Depression and Anxiety

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Many times depression and anxiety are not recognized as low thyroid symptoms. Although they are separate conditions, depression or anxiety and low thyroid have so many similar symptoms that doctors sometimes overlook the possibility that if one is depressed, they may also have low thyroid or vice versa.

Anxiety is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism, but it is also a symptom of hypothyroidism. Researchers aren’t sure why there is a link between depression and low thyroid; however, they are sure some are taking antidepressants when they should be taking thyroid medication.

Pampering your thyroid and easing your stress levels will also help improve your mood.

#8 Irregular Periods and Loss of Sex Drive

Low Thyroid symptoms

Low thyroid hormones cause a hormone imbalance leading to problems with your menstrual cycle and your sex drive. Not only can your monthly period disrupt, but there are also several other issues linked to low thyroid. For example, vaginal dryness is a common problem for women with low thyroid.

Low testosterone causes low libido, and while often referred to as the “man’s” hormone, it can also lower sex drive in women.

Ejaculation issues, premature or delayed, and erectile dysfunction, are complications low thyroid can cause for men.

Improving thyroid function can ease the symptoms so you can have an enjoyable sex life again.

#9 Puffy Face

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Low thyroid hormone often leads to puffiness, fluid retention, and swelling in the feet, legs, and face. Swelling in the face from low thyroid hormone commonly refers to puffiness and swelling around the eyes, lips, and cheekbones. This symptom is so common that many doctors refer to it as “myxoedema.”

If you are experiencing puffiness in your face, boosting your thyroid function will reduce fluid retention and ease facial puffiness.

#10 Elevated blood cholesterol levels

Low Thyroid symptoms

One of the most common low thyroid symptoms is high cholesterol; you need thyroid hormones to produce cholesterol and dispose of the excess you don’t need. Unfortunately, low thyroid hormones slow your body from breaking down and removing LDL cholesterol efficiently, thus creating a build-up in your blood.

A slight decrease in your thyroid hormones can cause an increase in your cholesterol levels. Even those with subclinical hypothyroidism can have elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Many times increasing your thyroid function is all that is needed to keep your cholesterol in check.

When you aren’t producing enough thyroid hormones, the chemical reactions throughout your body can be upset. These upsets include autoimmune disease, treatments for hyperthyroidism, radiation therapy, thyroid removal, and some medications.

The thyroid regulates the speed of your body’s functions, so when you have low thyroid problems, your entire body feels like it’s out of sync and run down. If your thyroid function continues to slow, your quality of life will start to suffer.

Here are the most common thyroid problems:

Hypothyroidism: Your thyroid doesn’t produce adequate thyroid hormones to maintain your body’s functions correctly.

Hyperthyroidism-Your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, which can increase your metabolism, raise your heart rate and cause hand tremors.

Thyroid Cancer-Many times, the only symptom of thyroid cancer is a lump on your thyroid. The good news is that 98% of thyroid cancers are curable.

Thyroid Nodules-It’s estimated that up to 75% of the population risk developing thyroid nodules. However, less than 1% of nodules are malignant, and most are diagnosed during exams or X-rays looking for other health issues.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis-This autoimmune disease creates antibodies that attack your thyroid. As the disease progresses, your thyroid becomes inflamed and loses the ability to make thyroid hormones.

Graves’ disease-This autoimmune disease creates antibodies that cause the thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone. Disease progression includes heart palpitations, weight loss, and hand tremors.

Subclinical hypothyroidism-Many believe this is the beginning of hypothyroidism. Your TSH is above average but still within the laboratory range. One study shows that one-fourth of those with subclinical hypothyroidism will develop full-blown hypothyroidism within six years.

Many times stress, poor diet, and a lack of nutrients can affect your thyroid function. Reducing stress, focusing on thyroid-boosting foods, and eating a well-balanced diet will improve your thyroid function and ease symptoms.

Many of those frustrated when conventional medical treatments fail to ease their symptoms turn to holistic or functional medicine doctors who address slow thyroid function by lowering the toxic overload by cleaning out the body’s chemical build-up.

Then they focus on nourishing the thyroid and body with whole foods, clean water, and chemical-free personal and cleaning products.

There are thyroid-disrupting chemicals everywhere, in our food, air, water, cosmetics, household appliances and furnishings, pesticides, and herbicides, along with industrial compounds.

These are a few of the most common and damaging chemicals:

Low Thyroid Symptoms

DDT, Glyphosate

Two common, dangerous chemicals are found in pesticides.

Phthalates, lead, and Bisphenol A (BPA)

Common in children’s products, plastics, and food storage containers.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

Flame retardants in fabrics, paints, electronics, and bedding.

Perchlorates

Found in rocket propellants, airbags, and fertilizers.

Perchlorate is known to impair thyroid iodine uptake, reducing the functionality of the gland.

Bisphenol-A and Phthalates

Common in toys, cosmetics, tubes, food wrappers, and appliances. Studies show exposure leads to thyroid disruption and reduced iodine uptake.

There are hundreds of studies showing the impact of these various chemicals on human health. In general, these toxins are especially harmful to the endocrine, immune and nervous systems.

In addition, several cancers have links to many of these chemicals.

Your Path To Improve Your Low Thyroid Symptoms:

Most start on their thyroid health journey by having their TSH levels checked when experiencing low thyroid symptoms, but many fail to find relief from their symptoms with medication alone.

This approach is especially true with autoimmune diseases. Instead, they find the best approach to improving low thyroid function is a whole-body care plan aimed to cleanse, nourish, and support not only the endocrine system but the entire body.

Take care,

Corri

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/thyroid-issues-and-cholesterol#thyroidand-cholesterol

https://www.thyroidsymptoms.ca/en-ca/hypothyroidism-symptoms/swollen-face

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/thyroid-disease-diminishes-quality-of-life

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hypothyroidism/irregular-periods/

https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/womens-health/2019/january/how-thyroid-problems-might-be-hurtine-your-sex-life

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid-cancer/thyroid-cancer#Types_of_Thyroid_Cancer

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-hypothyroidism

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/graves-disease#

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20351855#

https://www.healthline.com/health/subclinical-hypothyroidism#:~:text=Subclinical%20hypothyroidism%20is%20an%20early,a%20little%20bit%20above%20normal.

https://www.healthline.com/health/hypothyroidism/five-natural-remedies-for-hypothyroidism#natural-remedies

https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/have-a-thyroid-disorder-here-are-2-healthy-detox-drinks-to-flush-out-toxins-boost-thyroid-function/613876

https://imcwc.com/html5-blank/avoid-these-chemicals-and-save-your-thyroid/

https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-edcs

Thyroid Blood Tests-What They Tell You

By Corri Peterson

Thyroid blood tests should be the first laboratory tests run by your doctor if you are experiencing weight gain, fatigue, or moodiness. The thyroid gland is a member of the endocrine system.

Thyroid Blood Tests

The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce hormones. These hormones act like a messenger system regulating all the functions in your body.

One of those hormones produced is the thyroid hormone which controls your metabolism and regulates every other body function. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission) everything moves more slowly.

Your heart rate is slower, you may get constipated, and you may gain weight. If you have too much thyroid hormone, everything speeds up. You may have diarrhea, your heart might race, or you may lose weight.

Thyroid Hormone Levels Affect Several Functions-

Here are a few areas affected by thyroid hormone:

  • Metabolism (the way you break down food and get energy from nutrients)
  • Growth and development
  • Emotions and mood
  • Fertility and sexual function
  • Sleep
  • Blood pressure

It doesn’t matter your age; stress, infections, and exposure to certain chemicals can mess with your endocrine system. In addition, genetics or lifestyle habits can increase your chances of an endocrine disorder like hypothyroidism, diabetes, or osteoporosis.

Statistics state as many as 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction, with up to 60 percent unaware of their condition.

Women are diagnosed up to 8 times more often than men, with one in eight women developing a thyroid issue in her lifetime.

Common Symptoms of Thyroid Dysfunction-

Fatigue

Increased sensitivity to cold

Constipation

Dry skin

Weight gain

Puffy face

Hoarseness

Muscle weakness

Elevated blood cholesterol levels

Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness

Pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints

Heavier than usual or irregular menstrual periods

Thinning hair

Slowed heart rate

Depression

Impaired memory

Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

Weight gain and fatigue are probably the two most cited symptoms of thyroid issues when seeing a healthcare provider.

Thyroid Blood Tests

Many times those seeking relief from anxiety, depression, mood swings, or memory issues have no idea it’s their thyroid that’s to blame.

The Thyroid’s Long History

Thyroid disease has a long and ongoing history. William Gull first explained adult hypothyroidism in 1874 during a speech to the Clinical Society of London. A few years later, William Ord used the term “myxedema” to describe the edema he observed in some hypothyroidism patients. Ord’s observation was followed up by the first reported effective treatment of hypothyroidism—with sheep thyroid extract—by George Murray in 1891.

After reviewing the relationship between psychosis and hypothyroidism, Richard Asher, a British endocrinologist, added the terminology “myxedema madness” to the literature in 1949. Since then, case studies have continued exploring and reporting on the physical and psychiatric consequences of hypothyroidism.

If you feel like something is off you may have a thyroid problem, you should request thyroid testing. Thyroid disease symptoms can make you feel as if you are crazy; however, replacing and rebalancing your hormones, replenishing depleted nutrients, and reducing exposure to thyroid-disrupting chemicals will ease symptoms and improve thyroid function.


Common Thyroid Blood Tests


Most doctors start by testing your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels. However, unless there are obvious symptoms, like nodules or swelling, you will be limited to the testing you receive. The reason is that most insurance companies will only pay for TSH testing unless there are symptoms to support additional tests.

Here is a list of the tests available for thyroid diseases:

TSH-(thyroid-stimulating hormone)-

Reference range- 0.5-4.70 mIU/L FYI- Some labs have upper limits of 8-10 mIU/L

TSH made in the pituitary gland tells the thyroid how much T4 and T3 to make. Generally, high TSH levels mean hypothyroidism (underactive), and low TSH levels indicate hyperthyroidism (overactive).

Total T3-(triiodothyronine)-

Reference range-80-200ng/dl 

This thyroid hormone regulates your digestive and metabolic function and supports bone health. 

Free T3-(free triiodothyronine)-

Reference range-2.3-4.2pg/ml 

It’s the T3 hormone that doesn’t bind to proteins and circulates unbound in your blood. So it’s an active type of hormone.

This ratio of Free T3 to Reverse T3 tells the provider how effective the conversion from T4 to active T3 is.

RT3-(reverse T3/reverse triiodothyronine)- Reference range-10-24 ng/dl

A high reverse T3 level indicates you are converting most of your T4 into reverse T3. Reverse T3 is a variant of T3.

Total T4- (thyroxine)-Reference range-4.5-12.5ug/dl

A high level of T4 may point to hyperthyroidism, while a low level of T4 may point to hypothyroidism. Since certain medical conditions and medicines affect T4 levels, many doctors prefer to measure freeT4 levels.

Free T4-(free thyroxine)- Reference range-0.8-1.8ng/dl

Reference range-0.8-1.8ng/dl Since this hormone is not affected by medicines or conditions, many providers prefer to check these levels.

Thyroid Blood Tests

Testing For Autoimmune Diseases


TPOAb- (thyroid peroxidase antibodies- Reference ranges-0-35iu/ml

These antibodies are linked to the hypothyroidism observed in Hashimoto’s.

TgAb (thyroglobulin antibodies)- Reference ranges-0-4.0iu/ml

For those who had surgery to remove their thyroid, thyroglobulin levels are checked to determine whether any tumor (cancer) is left or if any thyroid remains.

TSI-(thyroid-simulating immunoglobulin antibodies)- Graves’ disease- Reference ranges-0-1.3

This test measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin in your blood. These antibodies tell the thyroid gland to release excess amounts of thyroid hormone into the blood. These antibodies are consistent with Graves’ disease.

Tg-(thyroglobulin)- No thyroid gland: 0-0.1 ng/ml Still have a gland:0-33ng/ml

This test is completed after a patient has had the complete removal of their thyroid. The Tg level in the blood sample verifies whether there is any cancerous tumor left behind.

The Four Basic Types of Thyroid Disease

NON-AUTOIMMUNE HYPERTHYROIDISM-The thyroid is overactive and produces excessive thyroid hormone. A few causes of hyperthyroidism are thyroiditis, thyroid nodules, benign thyroid tumors, infections, and some medications. Other triggers may include liver dysfunction, heavy metal toxicity, and nutritional deficiencies.

GRAVES’ DISEASE AUTOIMMUNE HYPERTHYROIDISM-This autoimmune disease causes the body to produce an antibody called TRAb. This antibody binds to your thyroid receptors, causing your thyroid gland to release more T4 hormone than the body needs.

Many times, treating inflammation and any infections will be part of Graves’ and Hashimoto’s patients’ treatment plan. 

NON-AUTOIMMUNE HYPOTHYROIDISM- For those who are dealing with non-autoimmune hypothyroidism, there are more causes than you realize. Like hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism can also be caused by liver dysfunction, heavy metal poisoning, and nutritional deficiencies. Other ailments associated with hypothyroidism are depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, chronic stress, and chronic pain.

HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS- This autoimmune disease produces the antibodies thyroglobulin (TgAb) and thyroid peroxidase (TPOAb). These antibodies cause the thyroid to stop producing hormones and die. This disease can cause your thyroid to make too many hormones; then, as your thyroid loses function, it makes fewer hormones. Yes, Hashimoto’s is like taking a huge roller coaster ride.

Thyroid Blood Tests

Thyroid Hormone Replacement Options

Levothyroxine/T4- The standard of care treatment for hypothyroidism is a daily dose of synthetic thyroxine(T4), referred to as L-thyroxine or L-T4. FYI– Levothyroxine is the most prescribed thyroid hormone replacement.

Synthroid- The brand name of the synthetic compound T4 (Levothyroxine) used to treat hypothyroidism.

Levoxyl- This hormone was pulled from the market in 2013 due to a suspicious odor from the packaging. This recall caused Levoxyl to be off the market for about a year, so many consumers changed to alternatives. As a result, Pfizer lost their share of the market.

Levothroid- A generic T4 hormone that is no longer manufactured.

Tirosint (hypoallergenic, liquid capsules)-The brand name for Levothyroxine is designed for people with allergies to fillers and dyes found in traditional formulations. These soft gel capsules contain no dyes, gluten, alcohol, lactose, or sugar. In addition to T4, Tirosint contains only three inactive ingredients: gelatin, glycerin, and water.

Liothyronine/T3- The synthetic version of the T3 thyroid hormone.

Cytomel- The brand name for Liothyronine.

Compounded Hormones- These prescriptions combine T3 and T4 into a single dose, allowing your body to use the T3 and convert the T4 as needed. These prescriptions are only available at a compounding pharmacy.

Natural Thyroid Hormones

They are also known as natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) or porcine thyroid. Before the pure levothyroxine availability, desiccated animal thyroid extract was the only treatment for hypothyroidism.

Some patients who continue to have hypothyroidism symptoms while taking levothyroxine report improvement in those symptoms when switched to desiccated thyroid extract.

Armour thyroid- This hormone replacement was in the news when Hilary Clinton was running for president. Her doctor prescribed Armour Thyroid rather than Levothyroxine (Synthroid) to treat Clinton’s hypothyroidism.
Two comments were linked to the news report:
1) “Armour Thyroid. One would think we could do better for our former First Lady,” wrote one commenter.
2) “I am glad to hear she is taking Armour Thyroid rather than synthetic substitutes, which contain only T4 and not T3. I always prescribed Armour for my patients because it is more natural, safer, and more effective,” wrote another.

Nature-throid, WP Thyroid-

Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) drugs, including Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, NP Thyroid, and WP Thyroid, have been around for decades and remain popular with alternative, holistic, and integrative physicians.
Many patients feel much better on a natural thyroid medication that contains T3 and T4 and some amounts of T2, T1, and Calcitonin. Many patients feel much better, have more energy and relief of symptoms when switching from synthetic to natural thyroid.

ERFA Canada- Similar to Armour Thyroid. This desiccated thyroid replacement hormone is only available in Canada.

When starting on thyroid hormone, you start on a lower dose, with that dose increased every month or two until your hormones have returned to their proper levels and your symptoms are under control. 

Thyroid Blood Tests

Thyroid Doctor Choices-

Finding a doctor to treat your thyroid dysfunction can be a challenge, but you can find a doctor who will help you feel better with a bit of knowledge. I have listed the types of doctors available to treat thyroid problems and shared the kinds of care they provide.

The first five doctors I list are conventional physicians. They are the ones you will see when going to most hospitals or clinics. They will follow the “standard of care” treatment plan. The insurance companies and the CDC compile these treatment plans, so your health plan may not cover specific tests and medications.

Endocrinologist-

These are the specialists. These are the doctors you will be referred to when your primary doctor doesn’t know how to treat you or need more targeted or specialized treatment.

FYI: diabetes is the most diagnosed endocrine disease, so many endocrinologists out there mainly treat diabetes. They may have limited knowledge when treating thyroid disease. 

Ophthalmologist-

The eye specialists. If you have Graves’ disease or other issues affecting your eyes, you see one.

Primary care physician

For many, this is your primary doctor if you have one. In addition, some insurance plans require a primary care doctor. These are the same as an internist or family practice physician.

Internist-

These doctors care for adults. They are similar to primary care doctors.

Family practice physician-

These physicians are a combination of internists and pediatricians. They care for adults and children.

Natural Medicine

The following list of physicians focuses on natural medicine and nutritional methods to heal the body and ease symptoms when dealing with thyroid disease. These four doctors concentrate on healing the whole body while using as few medications as possible.

Naturopathic Physician-

These doctors use natural medicine along with conventional diagnoses and treatments. They address the causes, work on prevention, and teach healthy living.

Functional medicine physician-

These doctors focus on getting your body to work together, including the endocrine, immune and digestive systems.

Paleo physician-

These doctors follow our ancestor’s diet. It consists of whole meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds—no processed food. Nutrition is the main focus for healing.

Holistic medicine physician-

These doctors treat the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs of the whole person. In addition, they focus on improved nutrition and avoiding chemicals that harm the body.

As you can see, there are several choices for finding a healthcare provider who will meet your needs. First, you want to find a doctor who practices healthcare the way you want to live your life.

That being said, I know many who have thyroid disease have problems finding a health care provider who understands the symptoms and how to treat them.

According to Mary Shomon, a thyroid patient advocate, thyroid disease is viewed as an “easy to test, easy to treat, take a pill, and you’re better” condition by many conventional doctors. Unfortunately, this attitude has many who continue to suffer from symptoms seeking alternative medicine options.

ADDITIONAL FACTORS TO MANAGING ONGOING SYMPTOMS:

Keep in mind these adjustments to my care plan only happened with my functional medicine doctor.

Work with your provider to optimize your TSH, free T4, and T3 levels, not just in the normal range. They need to be optimal for you, so the majority, if not all, of your symptoms are controlled.

For example, my TSH is 0.023 IU/ml and is flagged by the laboratory as low. The lab lists their reference ranges as 0.045- 5.330. 

My free T4 is 1.07, with the reference range of 0.61-2.00, and my free T3 is 3.1 with the reference range of 2.5-3.9, which is excellent. However, if my TSH levels get higher, it throws off the free T4 and T3 levels, and I have symptoms. 

My current doctor and I have discussed how a low TSH result would send many, if not all, conventional doctors into a panic, but my body responds the best at those levels, and he understands that. He has also told me that those who have had all or most of their thyroid removed or destroyed feel better with a lower TSH level. He is a functional medicine doctor, so his focus is getting my whole body in sync.

Also, don’t be afraid to change medications. Different brands have different ingredients. Some will feel better on synthetic brands, while others will feel better on natural hormones. For example, Levothyroxine is a synthetic hormone; it contains only the T4 hormone. Many doctors will tell you that since your body will convert T4 to usable T3, you will have no problems taking Levothyroxine. However, many thyroid patients lose the conversion capability, leaving them with uncomfortable symptoms.

FDA-Approved Medications

One thing to note here: all thyroid hormone medications are FDA regulated and are safe for consumption. Don’t let anyone tell you that natural hormones like Armour Thyroid are unsafe, unregulated, and the doses vary from pill to pill. This is not true. Statistics show that 50% of thyroid patients report fewer symptoms when taking natural hormones compared to Levothyroxine. So I am clear about this– I am not talking about the thyroid supplements available online. I am referring to prescription hormone replacement only. These are FDA-approved.
When I switched from Levothyroxine to Armour Thyroid, the constant cold feeling went away. Just remember: if one brand of hormone is not controlling your symptoms, try another. You do not have to suffer!

Thyroid Blood Tests

-Supplement any vitamin B, D, and magnesium deficiencies. These also contribute to fatigue, so supplementing them is vital!
Thyroid disease depletes your body of certain nutrients, so supplementation is crucial to healing and symptom control. But, as mentioned before, your diet alone won’t be able to meet those needs.

-Check for gluten intolerance and food allergies. Nutrition plays a significant role in dealing with and healing thyroid issues.

-Improve gut health and digestion. My doctor started me on two different Probiotics and recommended that I add one tablespoon of Diatomaceous earth to water and drink it once or twice a day. He said the earth scrubs the lining of my intestines for better nutrient absorbance. The funny thing is I feel so much lighter when I drink my dirt!

If you are having problems finding a health care provider, whether it’s wanting to try a different medication or having additional testing done, you can order lab tests online. Several laboratories offer to test online, and doctors can interpret your results online, over Skype, or via email. 

I know several who have had their tests done through online providers, with reports of thorough treatment plans with excellent results.

Please don’t give up. There is relief available. Sometimes it takes searching to find that relief. I went through six different doctors before finding the functional medicine doctor that listened to my symptoms and set up a treatment plan that controls them and heals my body.

Take care,

Corri

References

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diagnostic-tests/thyroid#:~:text=Doctors%20may%20order%20one%20or,to%20a%20lab%20for%20testing.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284

https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/#:~:text=An%20estimated%2020%20million%20Americans,thyroid%20disorder%20during%20her%20lifetime.

https://blog.medstarwashington.org/2016/02/01/hypothyroidism-a-common-misdiagnosed-condition/

https://www.google.com/search?q=endocrine+system&oq=endocrine&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j69i57j69i65l3j69i60l3.5595j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/endocrine-system-facts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Asher

https://www.endocrineweb.com/thyroid-what-are-t3-t4-tsh

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/t3-levels#what-is-t-3

https://www.google.com/search?q=RT3-(reverse+T3%2Freverse+triiodothyronine)&oq=RT3-(reverse+T3%2Freverse+triiodothyronine)&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i333l2.1477j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.optimaldx.com/blog/free-t3-reverse-t3-ratio/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/452668#:~:text=TPO%20antibodies%20(TPOAb)%20appear%20involved,be%20cytotoxic%20to%20the%20thyroid.

https://www.uhn.ca/PatientsFamilies/Health_Information/Health_Topics/Documents/Understand_Blood_Test_Results-differentiated_thyroid_cancer.pdf

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Signs of Thyroid Problems That May Surprise You

By Corri Peterson

Often the signs of thyroid problems are first noticed by friends, family, and professionals. Many times you are surprised these symptoms are linked to your thyroid.

Low thyroid or hypothyroidism is a chronic condition when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. (If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a commission.) Many professionals estimate up to 20% of the population has some form of thyroid dysfunction.

Primary causes of thyroid disorders are stress, nutrient deficiencies, and autoimmune disease. The rise in autoimmune disease is linked to exposure to environmental toxins. This toxic burden, which we are exposed to from an early age, damages the thyroid and overloads the body’s detoxification abilities.

Common symptoms linked to thyroid dysfunction are:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Sleepiness
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Constipation
  • A feeling of fullness in the throat
  • Hoarseness

Some of the above-listed symptoms can also be linked to several other diseases, including menopause, Lyme disease, COPD, hypertension, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to name a few.

What about mental health symptoms?

Did you know that several mental health symptoms are related to thyroid function? It’s common for a person to visit a health care provider complaining about symptoms they had no idea were related to the thyroid.

Hypothyroidism is often associated with cognitive impairment and mood disturbances, implying that thyroid hormones are critical for normal brain functioning.

It’s estimated up to 15% of women taking antidepressants have an undiagnosed thyroid issue being the root cause of their depression. That explains why antidepressants don’t help a subset of women – they were misdiagnosed and mistreated.

Since the brain uses so much energy, individuals with a slowed metabolism and low energy, normal with hypothyroidism, will lose their mental sharpness. As a result, it’s challenging to maintain clarity, focus, and sharp memory. As a result, low thyroid function is often a common cause of brain fog, depression, difficulty concentrating, and short-term memory loss.

The amount of thyroid hormone your body has can significantly affect your personality, including mimicking the symptoms of depression.

Thyroid disease and mental health issues have a long history; in 1850, the first case of hypothyroidism or Myxedema was recorded. In 1949, the term myxedema madness was introduced. Myxedema indicates low thyroid function, so the term myxedema madness indicated that people with low thyroid function were mad. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, you may very well agree with this statement.

Signs of Thyroid Problems

These signs of thyroid problems are often overlooked but are commonly linked to thyroid disease.

Depression

The amount of thyroid hormone your body has can significantly affect your personality, including mimicking the symptoms of depression. Research shows that hypothyroidism may affect as many as 20% of depressed people.

Mental health experts’ research states that 40% of clinically hypothyroid patients have significant depression.

According to the Thyroid Society, “most hypothyroidism patients have some degree of associated depression, ranging from mild to severe. While 10%-15% of the patients with a diagnosis of depression may have a thyroid hormone deficiency.”

Several medical professionals recognize and have studied the mental health effects caused by unstable thyroid hormone levels.

People with depression should be tested for thyroid disorders. Numerous studies have been done and are continuing to connect depression and thyroid disease. All forms of depression are linked to either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism; however, it is more commonly found with hypothyroidism. In addition, many with hypothyroidism have some degree of associated anxiety, ranging from mild to severe.

If you have depression and thyroid disease but have not been treated for your thyroid problem, starting thyroid hormone therapy may help ease your depression.

If you have hypothyroidism and are on depression medication, your doctor needs to determine if the depression is caused by hypothyroidism or if the antidepressant treatment is causing the hypothyroidism.

Many providers believe that thyroid hormone replacement can help with the treatment of depression. However, remember that thyroid hormone medication alone taken by someone who doesn’t have a thyroid condition will not lessen depression. Still, when given together with antidepressants, many see improvements in their mental health.

Some will still suffer from depression that requires further treatment. Combining medication, herbal and vitamin therapy, and exercise all may help with easing depression symptoms.

For those suffering from either thyroid disease, depression, or both, there are treatments available. First, talk with your healthcare provider to set up a treatment plan to get your health back on track. Remember that different medications and treatment plans work better for some than others, so do not get discouraged if the first treatment plan does not give you the desired results. Instead, try different combinations of medications and supplements until you are feeling like yourself again.

Anxiety

A review from JAMA Psychiatry found that hypothyroid people are more than twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders, plus almost a third of all anxiety disorders are linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.

Hypothyroidism symptoms like poor concentration, memory loss, and struggling with daily tasks add anxiety.

Typically, anxiety is a stress reaction. Anxiety may make it harder to remember taking your medications, going to the doctor, or managing a healthy lifestyle.

Treating hypothyroidism usually eases symptoms, but a few will need additional anti-anxiety medications.

Mood swings

Common signs of thyroid problems are depression, feeling achy, and exhaustion. These symptoms can lead to mood swings, while some have difficulty eating or sleeping.

Reducing stress by taking a walk, soaking in the tub, or watching a sitcom will ease mood swings.

Mental impairment

Several forms of cognitive symptoms develop in people with abnormal thyroid levels:

Forgetfulness and memory loss

You forget to run errands or items at the store.

Memory problems and difficulty concentrating

Studies have shown that verbal memory, in particular, can be affected by hypothyroidism.

Small changes in executive functioning

These changes have also been noted in untreated or under-treated hypothyroidism. Executive functioning includes abilities such as planning, impulse control, and making decisions.

Symptoms of mild dementia

These symptoms sometimes occur, but fortunately, treatment eases and controls them.

Slowed speech and movements Slow movement and thought-commonly referred to as Brain Fog.

Signs of Thyroid Problems

ADD/ADHD

Many people aren’t aware that hypothyroidism can cause ADHD symptoms. Low thyroid function slows the brain, causing brain fog, memory loss, anxiety, depression, inability to focus, and difficulty concentrating or performing basic tasks.

Research has shown that people with a general resistance to thyroid hormone have a higher incidence of ADHD than their unaffected family members. In addition, studies have shown that thyroid symptoms are higher in children with ADHD than in the average population.

There are several additional cognitive symptoms that those with thyroid problems experience, a few of those include:

Impaired and judgment

This is often linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease but is also linked to thyroid problems.

Impairment of communication and language

Studies have shown that dryness in the throat and larynx, combined with the feeling of a lump in the throat, leads to frequent speech disturbances occurring in patients with primary hypothyroidism.

Altered visual perception

Studies show that adult-onset hypothyroidism slows the conduction of information in the central nervous system.

Decreased hearing and smell-

Changes in hearing and the sensation of smell have been reported.

Inability to focus or pay attention

Low thyroid levels creates an inability to focus or pay attention. Adults with ADHD also have trouble paying attention and focusing.

Difficulty concentrating/ Inability to Concentrate-

It seems everything you do takes longer than it used to. The brain uses oxygen and glucose to function, so when thyroid hormone levels are low, metabolism slows, causing several cognitive problems.

Blurred vision

Many of the symptoms of thyroid eye disease are linked to Graves’ disease. This autoimmune disease causes dry eyes, watery eyes, redness, bulging, double vision, among other problems.

Withdrawal from friends and family

One of the signs of thyroid problems is not spending time with anyone. They may pass on activities due to fatigue or not feeling comfortable in a group. Keep in mind, anxiety and depression are usually present if dealing with thyroid disease.

General Loss of Interest

You don’t care about anything. This symptom is linked to depression and a sense of overwhelm. You may feel an increasing lack of motivation along with muddled thinking.

Loss of Interest in Sex

You have no desire. Your body processes slowing down can lead to a loss of sex drive, plus hypothyroidism symptoms of weight gain and fatigue can cause limited desire. In addition, higher-than-normal levels of the hormone prolactin can contribute to vaginal dryness, making sex painful.

Easing the Signs of Thyroid Problems

Nutrition typically plays a crucial role in thyroid health and can determine how well a person feels each day. If a healthy diet rich in thyroid-boosting nutrients is followed, it can make a world of difference—many with poor thyroid function are low in iodine, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, and iron.

Magnesium is needed to regulate blood sugar; low levels are linked to diabetes, fatigue, leg cramps, and heart arrhythmias.

You can ease depression and boost cognitive function by adding omega-3 fatty acids and other essential fatty acids.

The issue is that most of us are not deficient enough to develop the more severe symptoms doctors would notice (such as a goiter in the case of iodine deficiency). Instead, we have nutritional insufficiencies; our nutrient levels typically fall at the low end of the normal range, not bad enough for a diagnosis but still causing symptoms.

Remember, nutritional deficiencies and food intolerances may have developed; this is especially true with autoimmune diseases.

Some patients will want to work with a nutritionist; some may wish to experiment independently; either way, it takes time to determine which foods are the best for their health and symptom control. Many patients with thyroid disease feel better once they have had specific deficiencies addressed with testing and have removed foods no longer well tolerated.

Another burden for our thyroids is that we live in an ocean of environmental toxins-about 80,000, ranging from hormones to heavy metals that disrupt thyroid function. These toxins’ daily and cumulative burden causes direct damage to our thyroid health and overloads our bodies’ detoxification abilities.

Pesticides, lawn chemicals, personal care products, household cleaners, plastics, personal makeup, municipal water systems, and air pollution contribute to the toxic overload.

Many people report noticeable symptom relief once they have eliminated or limited most of the toxins they unknowingly exposed themselves to. In addition, many feel happier, have more energy, and enjoy life again thanks to improved thyroid function, fewer toxins, and better nutrition.

Signs of Thyroid Problems

The Right Doctor

Finding the right doctor is also key to feeling better and controlling symptoms. If your doctor doesn’t listen to your concerns, it’s likely; you won’t get better quickly. Therefore, it is vital to find a thyroid doctor or program to treat the whole person, not only the thyroid lab numbers.

Many thyroid patients struggle with health care providers who only treat the lab results and dismiss any remaining symptoms as “in your head.”

This lack of compassion and symptom control leads them to seek out holistic or functional medicine providers. These providers look for the root cause of your symptoms, focus on diet, and test for nutritional deficiencies so they can recommend the correct supplements; plus, many use all-natural thyroid hormone replacement instead of levothyroxine. All-natural thyroid hormones replace several trace thyroid hormones not found in levothyroxine, giving patients better symptom control.

You can get your life back! Remember, if you have difficulty finding a healthcare provider who will offer the testing needed for a proper diagnosis and treatment, you have online options available.

Online laboratories test for various issues, and doctors do virtual visits to discuss the results. As a result, many thyroid patients who have had poor results with conventional doctors find virtual doctors offer more options and better care.

Take care,

Corri

References

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/hypothyroidism_and_your_hands/article_em.htm

https://www.stlukes-stl.com/health-content/medicine/33/000456.htm

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https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/healthy-living-with-hypothyroidism/maintain-a-healthy-sex-life/#:~:text=If%20your%20levels%20of%20thyroid,impact%20your%20desire%20for%20sex.

What Does Your Thyroid Do? And Why It Matters

By Corri Peterson

What does your thyroid do is not an easy question to answer. For starters, the thyroid is one of eleven major regulatory systems in the body that make up the Endocrine System.

This system consists of glands that produce and secrete hormones. The thyroid is one of the essential glands in the Endocrine System. Metabolism, sexual function, and bodily growth are established and regulated through the hormones secreted by the thyroid. These hormones are chemical messengers that transfer information from one group of cells to another to coordinate and control multiple body parts’ functions.

When the thyroid is not functioning as it should, your body doesn’t interact correctly, creating various uncomfortable symptoms. Common low thyroid symptoms can include fatigue, poor concentration, constipation, weight gain, skin issues, dry, coarse, thinning hair or hair loss, and even depression and anxiety.

You probably know that the thyroid gland is vital for weight control and overall wellness, (If you purchase through links in this post, we may receive a commission.) but many people aren’t exactly sure what it does and how it connects to how they feel every day.

This diagram shows how the thyroid is linked to the entire body.

What Does Your Thyroid Do? Your Thyroid Health Determines Your Overall Health

The Problem with Low Thyroid Hormone

Low thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, is the most common form of thyroid imbalance. Some studies estimate that 90% of Americans suffer from undiagnosed thyroid dysfunction. Women often look to functional medicine or holistic doctors because they’re experiencing these symptoms but have been told by their conventional doctors that “everything looks fine.” The fact is, thyroid-related issues can arise at any age and may not necessarily show up on routine lab tests.

Centrally located at the base of the throat, the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland maintains the overall balance between the brain and the rest of the body.

Its hormones affect many systems and functions, including:

  • Metabolism
  • Brain development
  • Breathing, heart, and nervous system function
  • Blood cell production
  • Muscle and bone strength
  • Body temperature
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Libido and fertility
  • Weight gain and loss
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Skin hydration

It makes sense that when your thyroid isn’t functioning correctly, your life can seem significantly off-kilter, even downright miserable.

The primary thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), influence every cell’s metabolism in our bodies; T4 is a precursor to T3, the biologically active form of the thyroid hormone used in the cells. T4 is produced in the thyroid and converted into T3 in the liver and kidneys.

The conversion process of thyroid hormone involves a series of events. First, when T3 and T4 are low in the bloodstream, the part of your brain known as the hypothalamus – the “command center” for most hormones – sends a message in the form of TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone) to the pituitary gland.

The pituitary gland then interprets the message to secrete more TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), which in turn prompts your thyroid gland to take up iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to produce more T3 and T4. The T3 produced in the thyroid is a small amount used for short-term energy requirements. As a result, the thyroid produces more T4, which is converted to T3 in the liver and gut, then used in the cell by mediating T3 cell receptors outside the cell membrane, which “read” the T3 and allow it to enter the cell.

The Hypothalamus- The Hormone Command Center

Thus, there are three main areas where dysfunction can occur: 

1) The hypothalamus/pituitary/thyroid production of T4 – The production and release of thyroid hormones are run by a feedback system that includes the thyroid gland, the pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus. When this feedback loop is disrupted, the result is either too much or too little thyroid hormone.

2) The conversion of T4 to T3 -The liver and the gut are where most of the conversion of T4 to T3 happens. If you have low thyroid function, that will make the gallbladder and liver sluggish, thus slowing the conversion of T4 to T3. A sluggish liver also leads to high estrogen, affecting T4 to T3 conversions.

3) T3 receptors on the cell membrane (known as thyroid hormone resistance)- This rare genetic condition where body tissues don’t respond to thyroid hormones. Some patients have no symptoms, while others are resistant or sensitive to high thyroid hormone levels.

Let’s look at common thyroid imbalances:

Hypothyroidism

When your thyroid hormones are too low to support your daily activities, it is known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can cause severe fatigue and loss of energy and libido, dry skin, hair changes, general puffiness, constipation, digestive problems, cold intolerance, depression, and more. It can also increase cholesterol levels and aggravate PMS, menstrual irregularities, and fibrocystic breasts. Sufferers of hypothyroidism also have a greater chance of developing diabetes and heart disease.

A common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. 80% of newly diagnosed hypothyroidism is autoimmune and diagnosed by testing for thyroid antibodies. It is crucial to know whether your thyroid dysfunction is autoimmune based, as this drastically alters the treatment method and therapy used.

Hyperthyroidism

When the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, it is called hyperthyroidism. Too much thyroid hormone can cause nervousness and anxiety, increased heart rate or palpitations, breathlessness, diarrhea, insomnia, and depression. Like hypothyroidism, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Graves’ disease. Chronic Graves’ disease may cause a person’s eyes to bulge (exophthalmos). 

Subclinical Hypothyroidism

When someone experiences hypothyroidism symptoms even though their thyroid test results are still in the “normal range,” it’s likely that their lab tests are at either end of the normal range. This result is called subclinical hypothyroidism. Despite having what’s considered “normal” lab test results, people in this category often feel much better when their thyroid function is enhanced. 

The question is….what to do about it?

The main factor to consider with thyroid disease is the root cause? Is it autoimmune-based or not? If so, it begs the question, why is your immune system attacking your thyroid? If not, what other factors must be considered to find the root of the problem?

We need to first understand inflammation. We are all familiar with the inflammation that comes with a cut or a wound but not with chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation, however, is altogether different

It is this same inflammatory process but a chronic one (long-term), located system-wide in the body and at the cellular level, affecting the cell membrane and the membranes of the cell organelles, such as the nucleus (home for DNA) and the mitochondria (producers of cell energy). This type of inflammation is deadly, disrupting healthy cell function at every level, and is known to be at the root of almost every western degenerative and autoimmune disease, including thyroid disease.

With this in mind, the real question now becomes:

What Does Your Thyroid Do?

Why is my thyroid inflamed?

The answer lies in understanding what causes chronic inflammation.

The leading causes of inflammation are:

Chemical toxicity-

The thyroid is extremely sensitive to toxic chemicals. These chemicals cause inflammation that disrupts thyroid function, causing our sex lives, reproductive health, metabolism, and mental health to suffer. Thousands of toxic chemicals are everywhere in our environment; food, heavy metals, biotoxins, personal care & cleaning products, pesticides, etc. 

Fluoride and mercury tooth fillings are also a problem. Studies on fluoride have shown no distinguishable health benefits and increased adverse health effects.

FYI: Doctors used fluoride to treat hyperthyroidism until the 1950s, before developing other thyroid-suppressing medications!

It takes 2.0 to 5.0 mg of fluoride a day to suppress an overactive thyroid.  

If you live in the typical fluoridated community and you’re drinking your 8 cups of water each day, chances are, you are unknowingly taking in enough fluoride to suppress your thyroid. Most adults in these communities are ingesting between 1.6 and 6.6 mg of fluoride per day without knowing the harm they are causing their thyroids.

According to Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, studies show that iodine deficiency may result from higher ingestion of fluoride, causing hypothyroidism. He also stated, “drinking water is fluoridated in the United States, where hypothyroidism is a highly prevalent disorder — affecting over 15 million individuals mainly female and greater than 40 years old.”

Another chemical for concern is PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). These chemicals prevent grease and oil from seeping through food wrappers and are found in the bodies of everyone over 12 years old in the U.S. There are over 5,000 types, and of the ones studied, there are links to cancers, infertility, high cholesterol, weakened immune systems, hormone changes, and low birth weights in infants.

PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) is also a problem. Studies found this chemical increases risk of tumors of the liver, testicles, breasts, and pancreas. This chemical is in Teflon-coated cookware, fabric protectors, stain-resistant carpet, water-repellent clothes, packaging, ski wax, and fire fighting foams.

These are 3 of the thousands of toxins in our environment that cause inflammation. There are hundreds more. Many studies have linked inflammation to the rise in autoimmune diseases.

With autoimmune diseases, your body’s defense system triggers inflammation when there are no invaders to fight off. Your immune system acts as if normal tissues are infected or somehow unusual in these diseases, causing damage.

We know inflammation is short-lived (acute) or long-lasting (chronic). Acute inflammation goes away within hours or days. Chronic inflammation can last months or years, even after the first trigger is gone. Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include infection or injury, an autoimmune disease, long-term exposure to industrial chemicals, or pollution.

Chronic inflammation has links to these diseases:

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • asthma
  • neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease

 Additional factors contributing to chronic inflammation include stress, unresolved trauma, smoking, obesity, and alcohol abuse.

If your thyroid is not functioning as it should, there are actions you can take to help your thyroid and your whole body feel better.

Feed Your Thyroid!

#1. Feed your thyroid

Food plays an essential role in everyday thyroid function and in eliminating inflammation. First of all, make a point of eating breakfast every day so that your system gets a balanced start. Keep sweets and simple starches to a minimum (eliminate if you can). Even natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey use insulin to metabolize and are inflammatory. Make sure you get enough protein as well. Too many carbs and too little protein can interfere with the conversion of T4 into T3.

Your thyroid also requires specific nutrients for proper functioning, such as iodine, selenium, other minerals, tyrosine, and B vitamins. These nutrients are available in seafood, sea vegetables, poultry, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, legumes, yogurt, strawberries, and eggs. However, caution: do not supplement with iodine if you have autoimmune thyroid disease. Your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormones, so too much may worsen your symptoms.

#2 Support your thyroid

Herbs and minerals to support healthy thyroid function: Herbs like ashwagandha, hops, sage, bacopa monnieri, coleus, and guggul can also help support thyroid hormone production and balance hormonal signals to the thyroid gland, thus boosting energy and protecting other functions in the body. 

There are a few nutrient deficiencies common with hypothyroidism:

Vitamin B12- Vital for thyroid production; it boosts cell response and increases energy to help with fatigue.

Selenium- Helps with metabolism, and studies have shown a reduction of thyroid antibodies in Hashimoto’s patients.

Zinc- benefits thyroid function and hormone levels. 

#3 Thyroid-healthy lifestyle changes: 

You might not expect that factors like managing stress, taking time for yourself, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and attending to emotional wellness would make a significant difference when it comes to thyroid health – but they can—plus, getting out in the sun for few minutes each day (to help maintain adequate vitamin D levels) and avoiding exposure to herbicides, pesticides, and cigarette smoke. These steps can also improve your adrenal glands’ health, as your adrenals are intimately connected to thyroid health.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of “what does your thyroid do?”

I have included suggestions for improving your thyroid function, but this is not a replacement for proper medical care.

Take care,

Corri

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